Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#107 UTSA vs.
#108 Middle Tennessee State
Friday, September 30, 2022 at 7:30pm EDT
Written by Mark Ruelle

The 2-2 Roadrunners of UTSA take to the road to take on 3-1 Middle Tennessee State in a Conference USA battle on Friday night. UTSA comes in off of a blowout win over Texas Southern at home while the Blue Raiders come off of arguably the biggest win in school history with a 45-31 road win over Miami. The opening kick is scheduled for 6:30pm EST.

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True Road Test for Roadrunners

UTSA pulled out a resounding win over Texas Southern last week to pull to even on the season at 2-2. The Roadrunners jumped out to a 14-7 lead and closed the game with a 17-0 fourth quarter drubbing for 52-24 win. UTSA out-gained Texas Southern 553-464 on Saturday afternoon. The Roadrunners now get set to play Middle Tennessee State to begin Conference-USA play.

"We're happy. It's hard to win in college football. There's upsets every single day. There's upsets going on right now as we speak. There's some things I'm really, really proud of, which I'm sure you won't ask me a whole lot about. There's some things I'm very disappointed in..." said UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor in his post-game presser. 

It was a record-breaking night for the Roadrunner as quarterback Frank Harris established an individual passing record with 392 yards on 20-of-31 completions while the Roadrunners established a school record for team passing with 441 yards. Wide receiver De'Corian Clark set the single-game receiving yards mark with 217 yards on nine catches. He also had three touchdown grabs on the night as well, tying his own team-mark.

Defensively, the Roadrunners gave up a lot of yards but held Texas Southern to 24 points. They had two interceptions on the night, one apiece by Dywan Griffin and Avery Morris, and nine tackles for loss. Kelechi Nwachuku led the team with seven tackles while Trey Moore added six tackles, including 2.5 stops for loss.

UTSA is averaging 37 points per game thus far this season but has been giving up 35 points per game to its opponents. They are 32nd in the country in total offense this season. They are 56th in red zone TD percentage this season, 32nd in yards per game and 16th in passing yards per game. Defensively, the Roadrunners are just 91st in total defense, 113th in rush defense and 60th in pass defense. UTSA is 45th in the country in turnover differential.

Riding High into Conference USA

After getting blasted 44-7 by James Madison in their season opener, MTU has now won three straight games. The three-game win streak culminated in a 45-31 upset win over power five conference team Miami in Miami. Shockingly, the Blue Raiders led wire-to-wire including a 24-10 halftime lead as they controlled play all afternoon against the previously ranked Hurricanes.

"Fantastic win. Extremely proud and happy for our players. It's always fun to do stuff that nobody thinks you can do. Coming down here 26-point 'dogs and kicking their butt like we did—because it was a butt-kicking, there was no fluke to this—just really proud of our team. The toughness that we played with.We were the tougher team here tonight, mentally and physically, and we got after them. We set the tone early, especially on defense. I think their first three possessions were turnovers. Then we turned it over on their third one there. I'm just really proud of our team, man. A strong belief, the fight, the character, the toughness to overcome all the adversity. You think you've got a play going and then they, review it and overturn it. To be able to just keep battling; we never flinched. We never flinched. That's what I'm proud of our team about. Knocked these suckers off." MTU head coach Rick Stockstill said to the press after the huge win. 

Saturday's upset marked the first-ever win by the Blue Raiders over a top-25 team. They were 0-21 coming into this matchup. Quarterback Chase Cunningham set the tone for the Blue Raiders with a career-high 408 yards in the win. The 400 yards passing is the second-highest total in school history. WR DJ England-Chisolm set a career-high with 169 yards receiving and two touchdowns, one for 71 yards and the other for 98 yards. The 98-yard touchdown marked the longest in school history.

The defense of the Blue Raiders also came to play against the Hurricanes in rain-soaked conditions. The Blue Raiders ended the Hurricanes' first two drives with interceptions, one by Decorian Patterson and the other by Zaylin Wood. Wood's interception turned into a pick-six to give MTU a quick 10-0 lead. It marked the third-straight game that the Blue Raiders had two interceptions in a game.

Middle Tenn State is 60th in scoring offense thus far this season. They rank 98th in total offense including 120th in rushing and 49th in passing. Defensively, the Blue Raiders are 82nd in scoring defense after four games. They rank 24th in rushing defense and 102nd in passing defense. Middle Tennessee is 20th in turnover ratio this season and is just 113th in time of possession.

 

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Full-Game Side Bet

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MTSU is probably going to get a lot of love in this matchup following last week's upset at Miami. In truth, they benefitted from a couple of factors; absolutely abysmal conditions in Miami and a likely hangover from the Hurricanes following their loss to A&M the week before. UTSA quarterback Harris returns his top five receivers from last season, a season in which he threw for 27 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Harris' ability to protect the football will be crucial against a Blue Raiders' team that has two interceptions in three-straight games. Despite the interceptions, MTSU has the 102nd-ranked passing defense in the country. They also are just the 80th-ranked scoring offense. Quite simply, they can't keep up with the Roadrunners' high-octane offense. While MTSU did its program proud with a win over Miami, the Roadrunners nearly upset #24 Houston in their opener, losing in 3 overtimes and battled gamely with Texas. Look for UTSA to establish dominance in Conference-USA with an opening week win over MTU.

Lay the points (-4.5) and go with UTSA.

 

Prediction: UTSA -4.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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UTSA's defense is not nearly as sharp as they were last season when they held MTSU to just 13 points in a 27-13 win at home over the Blue Raiders. They have been much more offensively oriented this season and expect that trend to continue in this matchup. The Roadrunners' passing offense should exploit the poor pass defense of the Blue Raiders and put up nearly 40 points or more in this one. The total will be eclipsed easily as the 91st-ranked UTSA defense will be exploited by the Blue Raiders to the tune of 20+ points in this one. MTSU should be able to throw the ball on the Roadrunners and should also be able to move the ball on the ground against one of the worst run defenses in the country.

Take the over, 62.5 points.

Prediction: Over 62.5
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Written By Mark Ruelle , "Mark Ruelle"

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.